Members of a D.C. Council committee voted Thursday to cut police department funding by more than $15 million and reallocate the funds to alternative programs.
Budget recommendations by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen would cut the Metropolitan Police Department budget for the upcoming fiscal year by $15.1 million and instead dedicate funds to efforts including hiring a gun violence prevention director, expanding alternatives to prosecution and boosting violence interruption programs.
“I am recommending a reinvestment of millions of dollars from traditional policing into programs better suited to meet the community’s needs," Allen said in a statement. "I do this recognizing policing is only one piece in a larger criminal justice system that has long overpoliced and overincarcerated our Black neighbors relative to White neighbors."
The council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety unanimously approved the plan, which the full council will review in July.
Earlier this month, the council unanimously approved emergency legislation introduced by Allen to reform the police department, amid calls to radically change the city’s approach to policing.
Lawmakers chose to limit use of force by police, release body camera footage more quickly and limit the role of the police union in the police disciplinary process. Officers are banned from using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets or stun grenades to disperse a crowd.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser defended the public safety budget she presented in May. It “heavily invested” in intervention and opportunity programs, as well as policing, she said earlier this month.
“What we have submitted is what we think we need for public safety — not a penny more and not a penny less,” the mayor said.